Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

12 August 2014. A Photo Essay… There be GOOD EATS in the Russian Army!

00 russian army cooks 01. 12.08.14

They’re cookin’ up goulash, borshch, and kasha… the soldiers say that the enemy could tell their positions by the yummy smell (it spreads for metres around).


00 russian army cooks 02. 12.08.14

A KP-30 field kitchen cooks meals for 30 guys.


00 russian army cooks 03. 12.08.14

“I’m not a chef! I’m a COOK!” thundered Senior Cook-Instructor Vitaly Razamazov. For 15 years, he’s fed the crew of the Guards cruiser Varyag. He made his famous pea soup, stewed meat with kasha, and compote.


00 russian army cooks 04. 12.08.14

Submariners get special rations, which include red wine and caviar. All ships on extended deployment receive additional allotments of kolbasa and meat.


00 russian army cooks 05. 12.08.14

It only took five minutes! The cook decorated this vinagret with rosettes of carrot and pickles.


00 russian army cooks 06. 12.08.14

Now, that borshch with salo… that’s GOOD EATS!


00 russian army cooks 07. 12.08.14

Russian rations have 4,000 calories per day, the largest in the world.


00 russian army cooks 08. 12.08.14

The standard bill of fare includes over 200 items… it includes Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Georgian national foods.


00 russian army cooks 09. 12.08.14

However, the staff of life is still bread… and army bakers can still bake it under field conditions.


Of course, the troops bitch and moan about the food (all good soldiers do)… they call it “Belka and Strelka” (two Sov dogs shot into space… it’s a Russian way of saying Ken-L-Ration). Nonetheless, they chow it down, and most of it is objectively good (just like the US mess halls… they do put out high-quality stuff… just pop in on Thanksgiving and find out).


Adapted from a piece in Komsomolskaya Pravda http://msk.kp.ru/daily/26266/3144635/


Thursday, 16 June 2011

16 June 2011. Some of My Favourite Things… Yokosuka Navy Curry… Good Eats in Any Language!

How ’bout a lighthearted romp through Westernised Japanese cuisine… I knew that you wouldn’t mind…


Yokosuka Navy Curry

8 servings


  • 1 litre/4 cups beef stock
  • 400 grammes/1 pound beef, cubed
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced (400 grammes/1 pound)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced (200 grammes/8 ounces)
  • 4 small onions, thinly sliced (400 grammes/1 pound)
  • 30 millilitres/2 tablespoons lard
  • 15 millilitres/1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 15 millilitres/1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 30 millilitres cornstarch dissolved in cold water
  • salt/pepper, to taste


Melt the lard in a large pot over medium heat. When it has liquefied, add the beef, and brown it well, tossing it frequently to ensure an even result. Remove the beef and reserve it. Add the potatoes, carrots, and onions, and cook them for about 10 minutes, stirring them often, until the onions are translucent. Add the beef stock, bring it to the boil, and reduce the heat to low. Return the beef to the pot, adding the curry powder and soy sauce, stirring the mixture well to combine everything thoroughly. Cover the pot, and cook it for 40-50 minutes, stirring it occasionally to ensure that it doesn’t stick on the bottom. Make a slurry of the cornstarch dissolved in cold water, whisking it thoroughly to remove any lumps in the mixture. Turn the heat to medium-high, bring the curry to a boil, add the slurry, and stir the curry until it thickens. Reduce the heat to low, put the cover back on the pot, and cook it for a further 10 minutes. It’s usual to ladle the finished curry over cooked Japanese medium-grain rice. The yield of 8 servings assumes that you’re going to serve this in deep soup plates over the rice. This isn’t eaten with chopsticks, kids… it’s ALWAYS been eaten with a spoon. This came into Japanese naval usage in the 19th century, as the Royal Navy had adopted it as part of its culinary routine. The RN was the premier navy of its time, and the Japanese sent young men to learn from it. Officers of the formative IJN, such as Togo Heihachiro, studied in England and sailed aboard RN ships, so, certain practises of the Senior Service become part of the IJN tradition (moreover, the JMSDF continues them today).


Many Western sources add garlic to the recipe… I haven’t found it in my Japanese sources. I’d leave it out if I were you. You’re eating NIHONGI curry… NOT Indian curry… there’s a difference.

Приятного аппетита. Bon appétit.

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